When "Pathfinder" hit theaters a few years ago, I wanted to see it very badly. Unfortunately for me, it quietly came and went before I had the chance to see it. I heard almost nothing about it after it left theaters and began to lose interest in viewing it. Luckily for me, I managed to catch it on HBO awhile back and was instantly hooked. I sought out a copy of the DVD (which I had actually skimmed over for a long time thinking that it wasn't worth it), and was happy to find an unrated version of the film.
The story itself is rather simple. While on an excursion with his father, a young Viking boy refuses to kill a "savage" child in what would become the New World. Not long after this, a North American tribeswoman finds the young boy as the only survivor in the wreckage of a Viking ship. She takes him in and he becomes part of her and her husband's tribe and is raised as one their children. Fifteen years pass and the young boy is still a part of the tribe. He is called "Ghost" and gets along very well with his adopted family. He isn't, however, given the status of "Brave" because he still cannot find out which world (Viking or Native American) he truly belongs to. The opportunity to find his true path comes quickly when another raiding party of Vikings lands near his home and destroys his village while he is out hunting.
Knowing that the Vikings are hoping to eventually settle the new land, Ghost knows that they will seek out the next tribe. As a rule, the Vikings allow one person to survive each attack so that they can follow them to the next tribe to massacre them. From this point on, Ghost plays a cunning game of cat-and-mouse with the Vikings as well as convinces the next tribe on their hit list to get moving. The film then goes into survival mode for Ghost as he attempts trick after deadly trick to kill the Vikings off and save the other tribe.
Karl Urban ("Doom," "Star Trek") plays Ghost and does an excellent job of it. He is joined by Moon Bloodgood ("Burn Notice," "Eight Below") as Starfire, Russell Means ("The Last of the Mohicans", "Pocahontas") as Pathfinder and a nearly unrecognizable Clancy Brown ("Highlander," "Carnivale") as Gunnar, head of the Vikings.
The cast do an incredible job of acting, particularly since there is very little dialogue in the film. The natives speak English and the Vikings speak Icelandic. However, you could easily watch this film with no audio and know exactly what is going on.
For history buffs, you'll have to throw any and every fact you know about Vikings out of the window, as the producers intentionally utilized the Hollywood version of the Norsemen (and hockey pads) to provide familiarity for action fans. Horses are also thrown into the mix, so that's another falsification that will eat away at you as well.
The film is very violent. The unrated version features more action and a bit more blood, but is otherwise the same as the version on HBO.
The DVD comes with a few decent featurettes that range from the development of the story to the actual filming of the movie. Also included is a very brief look into Clancy Brown who, in my opinion, has never really received the recognition he deserves for his film and television work. Deleted scenes are also included.
I believe that this film deserves a few more looks from action and adventure fans. Granted, it lacks the so-called witty dialogue that litters most action films these days and actually takes a little time in developing the characters and plot, but it's a very good action film that shouldn't be ignored.
I also think that fans of films such as "Gladiator," "Brotherhood of the Wolf," and gritty horror films such as "Wolf Creek" will enjoy this film.
Pathfinder (Legend of the Ghost warrior) is a film that I have to say would have to be an acquired taste. Loosely based on the Graphic novel published by Dark Hose comics, upon its production, it was intended to be a "straight to DVD" feature. However, with the success of Frank Miller's "300"(another comic based epic), the studio decided to capitalize and gave it a shot in theaters. "Pathfinder" didn't enjoy the success of "300" though. This is a review … more
I almost never totally pan films or books I take in, but this one is a deserving exception. I have never seen such a lousy interpretation of history as this film hands us and, as the author of an historical novel about Vikings and Indians in North America circa 1050 AD (The King of Vinland's Saga), I am particularly qualified to comment. I spent a decade researching the Norse incursions into North America before undertaking my novel and can say with confidence that there is … more
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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Pathfinder is a curious, cross-genre movie with elements of horror, sword-clanging fantasy, historical fiction, and Native American mysticism. A classic story of an outsider-hero, Pathfinder is set approximately five centuries before Columbus’ arrival in the New World, a time when Vikings were claiming real estate in Greenland and eastern North America. A young Norse boy is abandoned by his disapproving, conqueror-father and adopted by an aboriginal tribe. He grows up to become Ghost (Karl Urban), almost-but-not-entirely accepted by natives, yet a fierce swordsman and defender of Indians after a terrible assault on those whom he loves best. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption) plays the fiercest of the invaders, a merciless leader who tangles with Ghost’s inherent prowess as a fighter, and engages in a psychological as well as physical struggle with him in the film’s final third, which involves a harrowing journey through an avalanche-prone mountain path. Russell Means (The Last of the Mohicans) is a typically comforting presence as the all-wise Pathfinder, leader of a tribal nation and Ghost’s supporter, while Moon Bloodgood (Eight Below) is outstanding as a love interest with nerves of steel. Marcus Nispel (who directed the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) guides the brutal if often exhilarating action as if it were amplified history. He makes the point for a contemporary audience that Vikings were as terrifying a danger to those whom ...